iTQi Superior Taste Awards Go to Lutosa and Mydibel
International Taste & Quality Institute (iTQi) Superior Taste Awards went to two Belgian producers of value-added frozen potato and vegetable products during a recent ceremony in Brussels. Leuze-en-Hainaut-based Lutosa received a three-star “Exceptional” rating for its Frites Belges product and a one-star “Notable” ranking for its Veggie Burger, while Mouscron-headquartered Mydibel was awarded two-star “Remarkable” awards for three products: Triangle Hash Browns, Chilled Prefried Belgian Fries and Puree Complete.
Lutosa’s irregular-cut, traditional-style Frites Belges (Belgian Fries) provide a “home made” plate presentation as well as flavor. They are distributed in 1 and 2 kg retail bags.
The company’s gluten-free Veggie Burger patties are stuffed with a medley of beans, corn, red pepper, cauliflower and broccoli. They may be served as a side dish or on a bun.
Featuring grated, spiced potatoes, Mydibel’s frozen Triangle Hash Browns are distributed in 2.5-kilogram bags. The company’s other two winners are not frozen products.
Winners of the “iTQi Superior Taste Award” are selected by food and drink opinion leaders who are Michelin-starred chefs and sommeliers. The jury, representing 15 nationalities, is composed of members of highly regarded culinary institutions within Europe, including the Maîtres Cuisiniers of France, the Académie Culinaire de France, the Academy of Culinary Arts, Euro-Toques, the Federazione Italiana Cuochi, the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, the Associaciones des Cocineros de España, the World Master Chefs Society and the Verband der Köche Deutschlands.
Similarly to the famous Michelin guide of gastronomy, iTQi does not organize a competition but rewards products on their own merits. Only those receiving marks of 70% or higher are granted awards, with the three-star “Exceptional” ranking requiring a score of 90% or above. A two-star “Remarkable” rating is given for grades of 80-89%, while single-star status goes to products scoring 70-79%.
Each product is subjected to an individual blind taste tests. The samplers evaluate products as if they were having them in their family home, not according to the standards of their restaurants. All are rigorously scrutinized and subjected to complete sensory analysis for which criteria such as olfaction, appearance, flavor, after taste and texture are taken into account.
After the tasting session, iTQi draws up a detailed graph of the different grades and summarizes comments and suggestions from the judges for the participating companies. The information is appreciated by producers as it helps them to better understand the jury’s opinion and become aware of potential areas of improvement.
Winners are allowed to use the “iTQi Superior Taste Award” logo on their packaging and in promotions. It is regarded as an effective marketing tool to communicate product excellence and company success.